‘Indians are in love with western philosophy and aim to imitate it, while westerners look for the spirituality, rich culture and yoga of the ancient world’. This observation has been pointed out by many of the philosophers. Both communities want what they don’t have. Many Indians forgetting their rich heritage want to jump in the world of technology, clubs, and materiality while the others want to get back to their roots and live a simple country life. It is no secret that the culture of India has been wounded and this can be seen and experienced as we observe some of the professions in the 19th century and older getting obsolete today. With those professions gone, we would have nothing to connect us back to our old memories.
- The professional mourners: Professional mourners were a part of tradition followed in Rajasthan and some parts of Gujarat. Many clans of these mourners like The Rudaalis were called by the upper-class Brahmins and Kshatriyas classes whenever there was any death in the family. These women would grieve and cry loudly near the dead body like someone known to them had died. Eveready in their mourning dresses, they would beat their own chest and the floor in grief and would sing sad poems. In earlier times, more Rudaalis would mean better the social status of the person.
This was their source of income for decades. But now, with the diminishing trend of this ritual, the profession is getting uprooted from these lands. A silent funeral is considered to be much preferable. Mostly people from lower castes performed this ritual, which now has landed these jobless women in extreme poverty.
- Write for me: The literacy rate in the British Raj were at a whopping low. Many people were denied education either because of the caste system or the English weren’t able to provide educational facilities for the Indians. In this era, the letter writers had a booming phase. People who couldn’t write or read letter would send for a letter writer or visit him, to send messages or listen to them. This profession has gone pretty orthodox now as the literacy rate continue to increase.
Even the calligraphers were in great demand. The monarchs of India had an army of them who would write official letters and documents in their mesmerizing handwritings. But these scribes struggle to find their place in modern world.
- On the roadside: Many services were provided on the roadside itself which could mainly be categorized as personal services. From dentistry to cleaning ear wax. Now, people prefer not to do these at public places. Would you love getting your teeth and ear cleansed at the roadside? Although roadside Barbers still are prevalent in rural areas, but most of us consider it substandard.
Why do you think that Chinese have not given up chopsticks till now, when spoons and folks are available and arguably much more comfortable to eat with? With the change in beliefs and with current technology, it could be argued that these professions and those similar to them are not needed in the modern world. But these are the things what sets us apart and gives us our real identity.